“Night sweats” refers to the physiological phenomenon of sweating in your sleep. Of course, it is natural to sweat when you are sleeping, but the term refers to excessive amount sweat. After all, your body is at rest, and you are using air conditioning or fans, so what is up with the unwarranted sweat? Though it is not harmful to the body, it can stain your sheets, and also cause a stink when bacteria have the time to digest your sweat. So what are the most common causes for night sweats?
The first among night sweats causes is dreaming. Dreams are powerful things, and they can cause physiological reactions as if they were real. It is entirely possible to sweat as a result of dreams. If you experience some nightmare, a rip-roaring adventure, or a sexually-charged fantasy, your body can experience the same symptoms as you would if it were real. Your heart pumps faster, your breath gets fast and short, and your body sweats to compensate for the heat produced from energy production in preparation for possible succeeding intense physical activity. You might say “But I don’t dream a lot (or at all)!” You would be wrong. Everyone dreams, and most of us can have a dozen or more dreams overnight. It is just that we forget most if not all of them upon waking.
The second among night sweats causes is the transition into menopause. Of course, this does not apply to men. For women, the hormonal changes that occur during the menopause transition phase can produce intense periods of feelings of heat, which results in the activation of the sweat glands. This is hormonal, and will pass as the transition is completed.
Lastly, night sweats are caused by infections and fevers. You might experience quick fevers that pass in the morning, or you may have some disease that causes you to sweat when you are asleep. Common diseases that cause this are: tuberculosis, HIV infection, endocarditis or inflammation of the valves of the heart, some cancers, obstructive sleep apnea, urinary tract infection, hypoglycemia, and head injuries. In these cases, paying a visit to your doctor may shed some light on your problem.
So there you have it. The three most common night sweats causes, in no particular order, are dreams, menopause, and long-term illnesses. Each can be approached and dealt with in different ways, so there is hope for everyone.